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Downing outlines budget victories in Senate FY13 Budget
May 25, 2012

Boston – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces that the Massachusetts Senate concluded its debate on the state’s Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget today, after more than thirty hours of debate on more than 690 amendments, held over three days. 
Downing successfully secured the approval of five amendments he sponsored to advance the following local spending priorities:
  • EDU 300 – $2 million increase to the Regional School Districts Transportation Reimbursement account, for a total appropriation of $45,521,000;
  • ECO 242 - $200,000 to support the operation of the Commonwealth’s eleven Visitor Information Centers from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, including the Berkshire Visitors Center in Adams;
  • EHS 528 - $200,000 to support the operations and programs of the Massachusetts Model of Community Coalitions, including the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition; and
  • EDU 336 (Redraft) and EDU 338 – Creation of a new community mediation center grant program to be administered by the Office of Public Collaboration at the University of Massachusetts/Boston funded at $925,000 by a newly established account. The program will promote the broad use of community mediation in all regions of the state, thereby greatly enhancing access to justice for low-income populations who may not have the resources to advocate for themselves in court, while saving businesses, schools and the Commonwealth millions by avoiding legal costs.
During the course of the debate the Senate also adopted the following amendments co-sponsored by Downing, adding funding to the following programs and advancing key policy initiatives:
Final actions taken by the Senate on all budget amendments can be tracked online:
The final House and Senate budgets will be referred to a six-member Conference Committee for all differing recommendations to be resolved. The conference committee’s budget recommendation will be presented to the House and Senate for adoption before it can be forwarded to the Governor for final approval.
Fiscal Year 2013 begins on July 1, 2012.


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